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U.S. judge declines to grant tribes' request to halt construction of DAPL

14 February 2017

He says he'll consider the request more thoroughly at a February 27 hearing.

The $3.8 billion pipeline would transport oil from North Dakota to an existing pipeline in IL and would cross the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Along with the pipeline owner, the Army Corps is also opposing the request for a restraining order, arguing that the tribes have failed to show any evidence of immediate harm that would result from the construction of the pipeline through which no oil will flow or at least another 53 days.

Authorizing the drilling violates free exercise of the tribes' religious rituals, which require clean water from the river, attorney Jan Hasselman of Earthjustice in Seattle argued. Some have been here since April, their numbers fluctuating between hundreds and thousands, in an unprecedented show of joint resistance to the almost 1,200 mile-long Dakota Access oil pipeline.

But Boasberg's order was in response to an argument presented by the Cheyenne River Sioux, who have a reservation adjacent to the Standing Rock.

The company called the religion argument a "last-minute delay tactic".

The tribes have asked a federal judge to block the work until their legal challenges of the pipeline are resolved.

Energy Transfer Partners maintains that the pipeline is safe and disputes that cultural sites have been affected. ETP says the claim is "exceedingly tardy" and "not construction-related".

According to the Army Corps, the Dakota Access Pipeline will be completed along its scheduled route as planned.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg, in Washington, D.C., is hearing arguments Monday afternoon. A lawyer for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said he planned to file papers this week seeking summary judgment on their claims, which are rooted in opposition to how the administrative process leading up to the granting of the easement played out.

A U.S. District Court judge on Monday denied a restraining order that would have temporarily halted work on the hotly contested Dakota Access Pipeline.

Previous court filings by potentially affected tribes had made no mention of the Dakota Access Pipeline potentially compromising their ability to freely practice their religion.

Construction on the pipeline has been stalled out for months, and at the end of December it appeared that protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline had gotten their way when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (headed by the Obama administration) rescinded a vital easement allowing the oil company to drill and lay pipe under Lake Oahe.

U.S. judge declines to grant tribes' request to halt construction of DAPL